Ivanovic & Medina: Last Two Standing In Bali
Published November 05, 2011 12:00
BALI, Indonesia - One is in their first WTA final of the year while one is in the biggest WTA final of their career. It's the last WTA match of the 2011 season and Ana Ivanovic and Anabel Medina Garrigues will both be hoping to lift the Commonwealth Bank Tournament Of Champions trophy at the end of it.
Ivanovic was the first to advance, coming out very strong then holding off a late surge to defeat Nadia Petrova in the first semifinal of the day, 61 75. Ivanovic won eight of the first nine games of the match to go up 61 20 when Petrova took it up a notch, getting back on serve and even holding a set point at 5-4; but Ivanovic fired a hook forehand winner to save that and eventually closed out the match on a backhand that clipped the tape and dribbled over for a winner.
"At 61 20, I felt she really raised her game," Ivanovic said after the match. "She started to serve bigger, go for her shots and make less errors, and when I didn't break her in that game I think it was a little bit of a turning point. Then I played a loose game to lose my serve, and it was 2-all, even again. But I'm happy I was able to refocus and regroup and close the match out in two sets."
"Ana played really well at the beginning. It didn't matter what I was doing, she was coming up with unbelievable winners," Petrova said. "In the second set I started moving her around and giving her a harder time, and I had chances to win that second set. It's a bit frustrating because I felt I had a chance to come back, but there was no luck - the match point was a good example."
The second semifinal was even more dramatic, as Medina Garrigues and Sabine Lisicki battled over two hours before Lisicki's campaign eventually ended due to injury. Medina Garrigues' baseline game was too solid early on as she hit just six unforced errors to take the first set, 6-3 (Lisicki had 21); the numbers were similar in the second set (Medina Garrigues six unforced errors, Lisicki 22 of them) but Lisicki peaked at the right times to take the set, 6-4.
The mid-back injury Lisicki took a medical timeout for in the second set was too much however, as Medina Garrigues won 18 of the first 22 points of the decider before Lisicki had to stop. Medina Garrigues won by retirement, 63 46 40.
"I didn't have too many retirements in my career and now I have two in a row," said Medina Garrigues, who also beat Marion Bartoli via retirement in the last round. "I feel bad for Sabine. At the end of the second set she was feeling bad but still won the set, but in the beginning of the third it looked pretty bad."
Ivanovic and Medina Garrigues have both played many, many WTA finals in their careers: this is Ivanovic's 15th (she is 10-4 in her first 14) and Medina Garrigues' 18th (she is 11-6 in her first 17). But it is still a breakthrough of sorts for both too: Ivanovic is playing her first final since winning this title a year ago, and Medina Garrigues, age 29, is playing the biggest final of her career.
"I feel lots of love and support in Bali," Ivanovic said. "I'm very happy I have a chance to play tomorrow, the last match of the season. I hope I can get my serve and fighting spirit going like they have been the last few days. I hope the crowd will be full tomorrow again and we can show some good tennis."
"Today I was a little bit nervous, but now I'm happy to be in the final," Medina Garrigues commented. "Right now I feel very comfortable on this court. I've been practicing on it all week and have my timing on both sides. I'm feeling good here in Bali and just trying to enjoy my game and my matches this week."
Ivanovic leads Medina Garrigues in their head-to-head, 2-1. Interestingly, Ivanovic is 2-0 on clay courts while Medina Garrigues is 1-0 on hardcourts.